We have to be careful as home
inspectors to spell out what is required in our home inspections and
what is not. When you read the list of things not included in the
typical pre-inspection agreement you may be wondering - just what
does a home inspection cover?
As with all home inspection companies,
Quality Home Inspections does a visual inspection of the
property. This means that everything that can be seen with
the eye that is determined to be a deficiency will be in the
report. Items that are behind walls or require special
testing are not within the scope of a home inspection.
Below, I go over just what a typical inspection covers with
Quality Home Inspections.
I start my inspections on the outside of
the home, first looking at the house as a whole. I look for
issues with the grade. I ask questions as I go. Does
it look like water could flow into the home, are the
downspouts steering the water far away enough from the
house, are there signs of water damage already, etc.
In this attic photo water appeared to be coming in around
the chimney. Notice the moisture damage to the wood.
Moisture is the
biggest enemy of the home. It only takes about a 20 percent
moisture level in wood for it to begin to deteriorate. Water
running into a basement area not only can hurt the home's
structure but can also cause mold and mildew.
If I see any indication of mold, I will
put it in the report, usually with photos of the area in
question, even though it is not technically in the scope of
the inspection. To determine whether or not a home is
without a doubt infected with mold requires special testing.
I report that I see a possible mold issue and recommend
testing to confirm that suspicion. I'll be looking for
issues that cause mold such as leaky pipes, water intrusion,
evidence of moisture problems, etc.
I'll also be looking at the roof while
I'm outside and the condition of the shingles. I'll be
asking if there are any indications of water leaking
through the roof. I recently inspected a detached garage
with a flat roof and a deck installed on top. This
construction literally trapped water the roof of the garage,
underneath the deck, and a look at the open ceiling on a
ladder revealed dampness and apparent mold. A test with a
moisture meter confirmed there was a high degree of moisture
in the ceiling.
While I'm looking at
the roof, usually from atop my ladder or walking on the roof
I'll also be checking out the flashing and the vent pipes.
Here we have tree limbs growing over the sides of a roof
contributing to clogged rain gutters and leaves standing on
the roof which can hold moisture on the roof and cause
damage to the roofing system over time.
I'll be going through the basement or
crawl space looking at the walls and the plumbing that is
visible underneath the floor. I'll also be looking at any
visible insulation. Pests are beyond the scope of the home
inspection; however, if I observe any evidence of an
infestation, I will write it in my report, usually along
with photos, and recommend a pest control expert take a
I'll be looking for
evidence of water intrusion, especially along the walls,
that I identified to having a poor negative grade on the
outside during my outside inspection.
I'll be constantly
piecing together information obtained from the individual
areas of my inspection with another, the way a detective
puts together clues to solve a mystery. One defect in many
cases can lead to another, such as one house I recently
inspected where cracks in the porch led to water causing
damage to the basement ceiling below.
Electrical Panel Inspection
I'll be opening up the home's electrical
panel and looking at the wiring for signs of a previous
fire, whether there are double taps, appropriate sized
wires, grounding, tampering by someone that was not a
qualified electrician, empty slots, correct labeling, etc. I
also inspect sub panels the same way.
I'll be testing the GFCI outlets as well
as all the other outlets in the home. The requirements are
for testing a representative number in each room, but I
personally like go ahead and test every outlet I see with my
I'll be looking at the plumbing for
evidence of leaks under the home during the basement
inspection. I'll also turn on the water faucets in the home
to test the functional flow and functional drainage and to
see if there are any water hammers. I'll be looking under
the sinks to see if there are any evidence of leaks there.
I'll also check around the toilets to see if there are any
apparent leaks after flushing. I also inspect the
water heater. More on plumbing.
I'll be visually looking at the attic for
signs of water intrusion or any signs of deterioration. I'll
be looking to make sure the attic is insulated well, and if
there are any other problems like vents that improperly vent
out into the attic.
Interior of the
course be walking through every room of the home looking at
the general condition of the floors, walls, windows, and
ceilings as I check the outlets. You'd be surprised how easy
it is for the average home buyer to miss a water stain on a
And, of course, I'll
be looking at the condition of the heat and air system as
The biggest thing I'll be looking for is the unexpected
defect. You never know what surprising issue that may come
up that demands the attention of the home inspector. There's
always something interesting and unusual that is unique to
that particular home inspection. For instance, I looked
behind an air filter the other day and found a small amount
of building debris of unknown origin. There were no signs of
damage along the walls, but nonetheless it was obviously in
need of cleaning, if nothing else, and raised some
interesting questions as where the debris had originally
I see anything out of the ordinary or that I consider
suspect, I will put it in my report.
To schedule a home inspection in the
Knoxville, Tennessee area call
Quality Home Inspections serves the East Tennessee area of Roane, Loudon, Knox, Anderson, and Cumberland counties
which includes the cities of
Oliver Springs, Midtown,
Lenoir City, and